Old Testament

The Pentateuch

What did the priests wear?

As in other areas of temple design, God was quite specific about what he wanted the priests to wear. Aaron and his sons—and their sons in perpetuity—were designated as priests. Aaron, as the high priest, wore the most elaborate vestments. His vestments consisted of a breastpiece, an ephod (an apron-like garment worn to secure the breastpiece), a robe, a tunic, a turban, and a sash. All of the garments were made using gold, blue, purple, and red yarn, and fine linen. Aaron’s sons’ vestments consisted of tunics, sashes, and headdresses.

Each ephod, or shoulder cover, was made of gold. Blue, purple, and red yarns were woven into it. Two onyx stones were engraved as a memorial with the names of the sons of Israel, six names on each stone. The names were written in order of their birth. The onyx stones were put in settings of gold filigree and attached to the shoulders of the ephod, one stone on each shoulder.

The robe was made of all blue fabric. The hem had a woven binding on it so it would not fray. (God thought of everything!) Also around the hem were embroidered pomegranates of blue, purple, and red. Between each pomegranate were gold bells. The bells were there so that the priest would be heard as he entered and exited the Tabernacle, and would not die.

The turban was made of fine linen. On the front of the turban was a rosette of pure gold. The words “Holy to the Lord” were engraved on it. It was fastened to the turban with a blue cord.

The tunic was made of fine linen. The sash was embroidered. Underneath the tunics, both Aaron and his sons wore linen undergarments.


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